All articles in 'Learn Excel' Category

What are best Excel interview questions? [survey]

Published on Sep 27, 2013 in interviews, Learn Excel

Hello folks…

Time for a fun & useful survey. This time lets talk about Excel Interview Questions.

Many of you are silently becoming awesome in Excel, data analysis, charting, dashboard reporting, VBA, Power Pivot and business skills, thanks to all the time you spend on I am sure there will be a day in near future, when you have to face another interview and be selected for a challenging, fun & high paying role.

Likewise, there is also a significant portion of you who are too good in your job that you will become a senior manager, VP or CXO, or better still start your own business. When the tables have turned, you will be the one looking for smart, dedicated, talented and fun individuals to join your team and make you look even more awesome.

So my question for both prospective interviewees and wannabe Excel pros,

According to you, what are the best Excel interview questions?

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7 reasons why you should get cozy with INDEX()

Published on Sep 18, 2013 in Learn Excel
7 reasons why you should get cozy with INDEX()

Today lets get cozy. Lets start a fling (a very long one). Lets do something that will make you smart, happy and relaxed.

Don’t get any naughty ideas. I am talking about INDEX() formula.


Of all the hundreds of formulas & thousands of features in Excel, INDEX() would rank somewhere in the top 5 for me. It is a versatile, powerful, simple & smart formula. Although it looks plain, it can make huge changes to the way you analyze data, calculate numbers and present them. It is so important that, whenever I teach (live or online), I usually dedicate 25% of teaching time to INDEX().

Enough build up. Lets get cozy with INDEX.

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Excel Links for you – Busy busy edition

Published on Jul 30, 2013 in excel links
Excel Links for you – Busy busy edition

As the launch date for our 2nd batch of Power Pivot class nears, my plate looks fuller than ever. Fine tuning the course details, preparing our online classroom for new batch of students and coordinating with Rob for video recording etc.

But I wanted to take a few mins today and share with you some really useful Excel tricks, ideas and examples from web. I found these really useful and inspiring. I am sure you will learn from these links as much as I learned.

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What do you use Tables for? [poll]

Published on Jul 3, 2013 in Learn Excel

What do you use Excel Tables for?

I will go first, I use them for,

1) Maintaining all my raw data, so that I can use structural references
2) Maintaining various trackers, for example I am tracking all our expenses in USA in a table.
3) For quick formatting of data (zebra lining, filters, sorting etc.)

What about you? What kinds of data are you holding in tables and how are you using them. Please share using comments

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5 Keyboard shortcuts for writing better formulas

Published on Jun 27, 2013 in Learn Excel
5 Keyboard shortcuts for writing better formulas

As an analyst (or manager), I bet a good portion of your Excel time is spent writing formulas and getting the results.

So today, let us learn 5 important keyboard shortcuts that will save you a lot of time and help you write better formulas.

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Introduction to Structural References

Published on Jun 26, 2013 in Learn Excel

Ever seen a formula like =SUMIFS(Sheet1!B2:B3923, Sheet1!C2:C3923, A1, Sheet1!D2:D3923, A2) and wondered what it is really doing?!?

If so, you are not alone.

Formulas written with cell references tend to look complicated and clunky. What if we could write formulas in plain English?

That is what Structural References do. When using structural references in formulas, your focus will be on your data, not on which cell ranges the data takes up.

For example, you can write formulas like these:
1) SUM(mySales[no. of customers]) to find how many customers we had.
2) SUMIFS(mySales[no. of customers], mySales[product], “FastCar”) to find how many customers bought “FastCar”

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A quick Excel tip while on bike…

Published on Jun 10, 2013 in Learn Excel

As you may know, I am in USA and having a lot of fun exploring new areas, meeting people and conducting live classes. While all of this is enjoyable, I am also feeling guilty because I am unable to squeeze time to share Excel tips on the blog.

So to make it up to you, I recorded this short video (2 mins) with an Excel tip while bicycling in beautiful Euclid Creek Reservation in Cleveland on Friday. Watch it below.

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Excel Links – from USA edition

Published on May 8, 2013 in excel links

Hello there,

My travel to US was fantastic and fun. Many thanks to Jocelyn & Rob Collie, who found a nice apartment for us and made sure we are settled down in almost no time. Weather has been excellent so far too with lots of sunshine and blue skies. We went to a nearby park the other day and kids really loved walking on trials and exploring.

Gentle reminder

Today is last day to sign-up for my USA Masterclass

Today is last day to join my USA Advanced Excel & Dashboards masterclass with early bird discount. If you live near Chicago, Washington DC or Columbus and love style of teaching, then you will benefit alot from my masterclass. We have very few spots left in Chicago & Columbus. So go ahead and book yours today and save $200.

Click here to know more and join us.

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Learn Top 10 Excel Features

Published on Apr 16, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel, Power Pivot, VBA Macros
Learn Top 10 Excel Features

Last week, we had a lovely poll on what are your favorite features of Excel? More than 120 people responded to it with various answers. So I did what any data analyst worth his salt would do,

I analyzed the data and here are the top 10 features in Excel according to you.

Read on to learn more.

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How to create interactive calendar to highlight events & appointments [Tutorial]

Published on Apr 9, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel, VBA Macros
How to create interactive calendar to highlight events & appointments [Tutorial]

One of the popular uses of Excel is to maintain a list of events, appointments or other calendar related stuff. While Excel shines easily when you want to log this data, it has no quick way to visualize this information. But we can use little creativity, conditional formatting, few formulas & 3 lines of VBA code to create a slick, interactive calendar in Excel. Today, lets understand how to do this.

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What is your favorite feature of Excel? [poll]

Published on Apr 5, 2013 in Learn Excel
What is your favorite feature of Excel? [poll]

Its Friday, time for another poll.

This weeks topic is inspired from a discussion Jordan started in our forums.

I will go first.

My favorite features are,

Conditional formatting: Quickly highlight something that is not alright (or meets conditions), see trends with data bars or heat maps.
Pivot tables: Turn data in to understandable information with just a few clicks. When combined with slicers & conditional formats, becomes very powerful.
Formulas: Ofcourse, with out formulas, Excel would be a glorified notepad!

What about you? What are your favorite features in Excel? Go ahead and share with us by posting a comment.

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How well do you know your LOOKUPs? – Quiz Answers & Discussion

Published on Apr 4, 2013 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel, Quizzes
How well do you know your LOOKUPs? – Quiz Answers & Discussion

Last week, we had our very first quiz – “How well do you know your LOOKUPs?”. I hope you have enjoyed it.

Today lets understand the answers & explanations for this quiz.

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10 things that wowed me in Excel 2013

Published on Apr 3, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel
10 things that wowed me in Excel 2013

As you may new, the newest version of Excel is out for a while. I have been using it since last 6 months and enjoying it. Today, lets understand 10 things in 2013 that wowed me (and probably you too).

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Work with several Excel files everyday? – Save them as a workspace [Quick tip]

Published on Mar 4, 2013 in Learn Excel
Work with several Excel files everyday? – Save them as a workspace [Quick tip]

If you work with multiple Excel workbooks everyday, then here is a handy tip.

Use Save workspace feature to save your workbook collection & layout.

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Designing a dashboard to track Employee vacations [case study]

Published on Jan 24, 2013 in Charts and Graphs, Learn Excel

Employee Vacation Dashboard & Tracker using Excel

HR managers & department heads always ask, “So what is the vacation pattern of our employees? What is our average absent rate?”

Today lets tackle that question and learn how to create a dashboard to monitor employee vacations.

What do HR Managers need? (end user needs)

There are 2 aspects tracking vacations.

1. Data entry for vacations taken by employees
2. Status dashboard to summarize vacation data

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